CHERLOC project: coastal engineering and marine biodiversity

CHERLOC project: coastal engineering and marine biodiversity

ACCROBERM™II toe block, developed by Artelia will be tested on two pilot sites early 2021 (Cherbourg & Ouistreham, France).

CHERLOC is a collaborative research project co-financed by the European Union and the Normandy Region within the framework of the ERDF/ESF 2014-2020 operational program, up to 40% of the eligible amounts for Artelia.

The project partners are:

  • The University of Caen Normandy with the departments:
    - BOREA, UFR des Sciences
    - M2C, UFR des Sciences
    - CERREV, UFR Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Graduate School of Construction and Engineering Caen (ESITC Caen)
  • The Marine French Contractor MARC SA
  • Artelia.

Are also associated to the project:

  • Ports de Normandie

The CHERLOC project aims to study, through a multidisciplinary approach, two new types of artificial concrete blocks developed for coastal and marine infrastructure and for enhancing marine biodiversity. Their interest for coastal engineering and marine biodiversity as well as their social acceptability will be assessed through two pilot operations. 

In a context of climate change, of Global Gea Levels (GSL) rise and biodiversity loss, sea defences and breakwater remain necessary even though the development of Nature-Based Solutions. To mitigate against biodiversity loss, new approaches have to be found to incorporate habitat opportunities in marine infrastructure regardless the context, i.e. rehabilitation of existing breakwaters, maintenance of them or protecting them new major interests.

In this context, the CHERLOC project aims: 

  • To further improve the coastal and marine infrastructure by incorporating eco-engineering into the new solutions while guarantying hydraulic stability and limiting overtopping.
  • To contribute to scientific knowledge on the interactions between blocks, their capability ofenhancing the development of marine biodiversity in order to make them vectors for an eco-design of infrastructure.
  • To evaluate the perception of these blocks and structures by stakeholders in the territories concerned with the objective of better meeting their legitimate expectations.

Both  artificial blocks concerned by the CHERLOC project are:

  • The DOUBLE-CUBE single-layer block, developed by the M2C laboratory, whose performance, stability, placing, ec will be tested through the pilot operations.
  • The ACCROBERM™II toe block, developed by Artelia. Due to its hollow shape, its design may develop  the habitat opportunities and increase biodiversity. Its hydraulic stability is ensured by the rockfill and one of its main advantage is the reduction of footprint of the toe. Different categories of rocks might be used as a rockfill offering an opportunity to vary the dimensions of the crevices.


Two pilot operations until 2022

In both cases, this is a first operational implementation. Thanks to the assistance of the Ports of Normandy Association (PNA) the two new types of artificial blocks will be studied and integrated into the existing breakwaters (Eastern outer breakwater of Cherbourg harbour and Ouistreham inner breakwater). These port structures will be pilot sites until 2022. The participation of biologists and sociologists from the University of Caen will allow an objective and independent study of the stakeholders opinion and their interaction with local biodiversity throughout the whole duration of the experiment.

We hope confirming the stability, performance and placing of the ACCROBERM™ II toe block through these in-situ experiments as well as their positive effect on marine biodiversity.